How to spend Halloween in NZ? Jump out of a Plane! :)

3 01 2012

Item’s I have learned today:

-chur = cheers/thanks

-Bro = pal/mate but chicks call each other bro as well

One last stop in Rotorua before heading on to Lake Taupo was Te Puia.  We saw the Pohutu geyser erupt

Pohutu blowing off some steam.. literally :)

Pohutu blowing off some steam.. literally 🙂

and some Maori arts, crafts and culture as it is home to National Schools of Carving and Weaving. Apprentices from all over the country are selected to learn and carry on the Maori traditions/arts.

Te Puia

Te Puia

Our guide took us through the area and also managed to cook some hard boiled eggs in one of the hot pools.. which we all ate afterwords.

Cooking our lunch.. haha

Cooking our lunch.. haha

It needed a bit of salt but was still surprisingly edible considering it was boiled in a hot spring!

We arrived in Taupo mid afternoon.  Lake Taupo is one of the largest crater lakes, it is big enough to hold all of Singapore.  It is said that the lake was formed by one of the largest volcanic explosions in the world (Mt St helens  pales in comparison for you pacific NW  folk).

Lake Taupo is also quickly become the adventure capital of the North Island.  A few days prior to arriving I had promised Lucy (met her at rugby world cup finals weekend) that I would sky dive with her.  Why on earth I made said promise I am not sure.  Plus.. it was Halloween.  If you have read any of my blog entries so far you would know that I am really not all that much of  a dare devil/adventuresome person .. so I was in essence freaking out. BUT I made the promise that I was going to jump out a plane with a friend and jump out of a plane I did.

Photo courtesy of www.freefall.net.nz

Photo courtesy of http://www.freefall.net.nz

We didn’t even get dropped off at the hostel, so there wasn’t really much room to back out. We went straight to the sky diving place – called Free Fall.  Sky-diving in Taupo is completely weather dependent, so if its raining and gray – you are not going to get to go up.  Some how miraculously the sun came out shortly after we arrived so our safety briefing pretty much consisted of “hey guys, weathers good, sign this waiver you know uh.. just  in case.. and listen to your guide”  So much for extensive instruction!  Oh and I should note that they also put on two videos to “pump us up” but all they succeeded in doing is freaking me out even more.  It was actually probably a good thing that they didn’t give us a full on briefing because I probably would have had a panic attack!

After suiting up and becoming completely silent we boarded the plane (when I’m scared/nervous/freaked out I tend to completely shut up… which is a rare thing for me).  OH… and I should also state that they said they would not charge us until we “successfully completed the jump”  it was SOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooo comforting to know that if I died I wouldn’t be charged $350 for it! fjkaljsksljaks.

So.. Lucy is as happy can be. She decided to get the full on video package so is all smiles and waves and thumbs ups and  peace signs in the front of the plane.. and I’m completely mute, scared and worried I’m going to die in the back. It also doesn’t help that the guy I’m jumping with Rhys has a VERY sarcastic personality.  A fact that I normally love,  but when I’m mute and trying to figure out why the hell I’m jumping out of a plane in the first place the last thing I want to hear is Rhys telling me that ‘my straps are bit lose but hopefully we’ll stay connected’ and that “there is a tear at the top but it should be able to last for one more jump’.   At one point I finally turned around to him and say (keeping in mind that I’m strapped to him and sitting on his lap) “you’re really enjoying this aren’t you.  You seem to REALLY enjoy freaking me out”  to which he responds with “yup! I get paid to scare the sh*t out of people” sigh.. not exactly the comforting response I had hoped for, but it did make me smile and for one slight second take away the fact that I was soon going to be flinging myself out of a plane.

Oxygen masks came down (because I made the decision to not just do 12,000 but jump 15,000 feet – go big or go home?? I guess? Or I am a  complete idiot) and Rhys’s comedy performance had to end.  Door opens, and by door I mean pretty much half of the plane (we are in a tiny plane).  Here comes major freak out number two (and by number two, I mean number 5,000,002) I am the last person out of the plane. Which you think would be a good thing, but in actuality means you watch 6 other groups of people literally fall out of a plane!! It’s not like they slip out and do a ballet move and smile and blow a kiss and then fall gracefully down, they literally plummet down to the earth, and thats all you see. One group drop.. then another.. then another.  Did not help the stress levels!  At this point I’m actually extremely grateful that Rhys is connected to me because if he hadn’t been I probably wouldn’t have ever left the plane.

Photo courtesy of www.freefall.net.nz

Photo courtesy of http://www.freefall.net.nz

So finally its go time. I lean back, put my head against his shoulders and the next thing I know.. we are off.  Now being the insane WUS that I am, I was expecting to be terrified and screaming the whole day down… not at all! It was actually AMAZING.  It’s so crazy because you are literally falling towards the earth.. but it feels like your floating.  Ok, your cheeks feel a bit weird because of the wind and it is slightly difficult to breathe, but you can’t really focus on that. You’re too busy taking in everything around you and the crazy view that you have… in my case of Lake Taupo and the surrounding areas.  It was seriously amazing… and I’m not kidding when I say it’s not scary at all! (i’m not talking about the plane ride and the initial exiting of the plane.. that of couse did scare the crap of me.. I’m talking about the sky dive itself).

So after 60 seconds of free falling the parachute goes up.  This was freak out number 3 (or 5,000,003).  For like 0.00000000000001 of a second I felt like I was being disconnected from Rhys and that I literally was going to die and drop down to earth with out him.  I went to scream, but before I even got to do that the parachute went up and I was wisked back up in the air.. and still connected to my good old sarcastic buddy!  We then sort of float back down to the ground with Rhys steering the parachutes so we can  have different views.

We get down to the ground and I’m ectstatic. I can’t believe that I just did that.  I can’t stop smiling.. literally.  Rhys disconnects us and I pretty much say what I just wrote here, followed by good old comforting Rhys saying “Well.. Maria.. YOU didn’t actually do anything”  fair play Rhys… fair play.

But i LOVE LOVE LOVED it.  From being so scared to be begin with I was so proud of myself afterwords.  I really am a huge wus, so the fact that I did actually sky dive at 15,000 feet with 60 seconds of free fall is pretty impressive.  And you know what? I would do it again! In a heart beat! Just need to save up enough money and pick a different country to do it in 🙂


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One response

3 01 2012
juliyya

Okay, I have a confession. When I spoke with a representative for the company which will be publishing the University of Washington 150th Anniversary Alumni Directory, he asked me for your occupation. Adventuress, I said, and so you continue to prove me right, not only traveling halfway around the world for rather long stretches of time, but engaging in so many adventurous sporting activities that I ask myself, “Is this young woman really my daughter?”

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